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Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, took to the Senate floor this week calling on House-Senate budget negotiators to look at replacing the across-the-board sequestration cuts for at least two years.
A coalition of more than two dozen federal-employee unions and advocacy groups is calling on budget negotiators to come up with a way to undo the across-the-board sequestration budget cuts that are poised to slash agency spending by billions more this year. But following three years of a pay freeze and the recent 16-day government shutdown, the groups are equally adamant that changes to federal employees' pay and benefits should be off the table.
For the fourth month in a row, fewer federal employees than expected put in for retirement, allowing the Office of Personnel Management to continue cutting away at a longstanding backlog of claims. About 1,000 fewer employees than expected filed for retirement, according to new OPM data. The backlog fell by more than 3,500 cases.
The Obama administration trying a different tack on federal-employee bonuses and awards in fiscal 2014. A new directive from the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Personnel Management continues clear-cut spending caps on employee awards but won't outright ban them -- even if the across-the-board spending constraints, known as sequestration, continue.
Two top senators on a Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee say a delay by the acting inspector general of the Homeland Security in providing documentation is hindering the committee's investigation into allegations of nepotism and misuse of agency resources. Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), the chair and ranking member, respectively, of the Financial and Contracting Oversight subcommittee, wrote to the Deputy IG Charles Edwards Wednesday pressing him to respond to their requests for information.
Fears that the two-week government shutdown and the threat of a catastrophic default on the national debt would roil the stock market and shrink federal employees' retirement accounts turned out to be unfounded. For the second month in a row, all the funds in the TSP posted in positive territory, according to data released Friday by the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board.
When House and Senate lawmakers kicked off formal budget negotiations this week for the first time since the government shutdown ended, both Republicans and Democrats said replacing sequestration, the blunt across-the-board budget cuts, with an alternative plan would be a top priority. The sticking point remains how to pay for it. Federal-employee unions and advocacy groups fear federal pay and benefits will once again be on the table.
The Justice Department has joined a whistleblower False Claims Act suit against the federal government's largest provider of background investigations. Filed under the False Claims Act, the suit alleges that USIS, which currently has a multimillion-dollar contract with the Office of Personnel Management, failed to properly review its casework before providing it OPM.
Hardship withdrawals shot up in the first few weeks of October and thousands more employees opted to shift their investments out of higher-risk areas and into the G Fund, TSP officials said at at the board's monthly meeting Monday. During the shutdown, some 8,200 participants requested hardship withdrawals, compared to 5,500 during the same period of time last year.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee called representatives from four contractors — including prime contractor CGI Federal — to the committee to investigate the bumpy launch of the health care website. Contractors responsible for key parts of the website told lawmakers that the federal government was responsible for comprehensively testing the site and that a late decision to require logging into the system before browsing for insurance plans created bottlenecks that crippled the site.